Work can be an energy-draining cycle sometimes – jobs piling up, deadlines drawing closer, personal issues getting in the way. Sometimes, you may even feel trapped under a burden of responsibilities that you wish you could take a break from it all and give yourself some time to recover. Constantly pushing yourself every day without giving your body the chance to de-stress and rejuvenate can have serious effects on your physical and mental health.
For most people, the best solution to stress is to physically get away from it; take a vacation, relax, and nurse your body and mind into recovery. And although this is pretty effective, taking a vacation may not always be possible or even necessary. With the current health crises the whole world is facing at the moment, traveling may not be the ideal option.
So, are you looking for ways to soothe your stress away, no matter where you are? Here are some helpful tips you can try.
Identify what triggers the stress
The first thing you need to do is to identify the culprits behind your stress. If you don’t know what causes you to stress out, you’ll most likely have difficulty finding the right solution. While it may be challenging to eliminate every cause of stress in your life, identifying the triggers will make it possible to remove the ones you have control over. For example, if you’re stressed because of your hectic daily schedule, you can look for ways to ease the workload on yourself where possible. Also, if getting stuck in traffic, for example, is what gets your blood boiling, you can either look for alternative routes where possible or find other things you can do while stuck in traffic.
The point here is to know your stress triggers to help you find the right solutions.
Find a relaxing routine
From something as quick and straightforward as stretching your legs to indulging in meditation, a relaxing routine is a great way to kick out the stress. One great thing about routines like the ones we just mentioned is that they can be short and remain effective. You can use a quick, relaxing routine to address several things at a go.
First, set about 15 minutes aside for yourself. Next, stretch out your muscles and relax. Doing this will help boost the supply of blood to all parts of your body. Once done, find something that allows you to relax and shut off your work momentarily. It should be something you love doing, feels good, and helps you to feel centered.
Something as simple as laying back in your chair and reading or soaking your favorite music through your earphones can be very effective. And speaking of using sound, you can also sign up for Openfit’s Sound Meditation if you’re looking for something new. This method of sound meditation uses soothing sounds and vibrations from overtone-emitting instruments. All you need to do is get comfortable, lay back, put on your headphones, and allow the sounds to soothe every fiber in your being.
If you’ve been sitting behind a desk for long periods of the day, you can also try going out for a short walk. Doing this will cause your brain to release endorphins that improve the mood, boost energy levels, and subdue stress and anxiety. And all you need is just 15 minutes.
The primary purpose of finding a relaxing routine is giving your mind the chance to escape into a different place, whether through books, music, sound, etc.
You may have heard this saying before: “Laughter is medicine to the soul.” But laughter is medicine to the body also, especially when you seem to be crumbling under a load of stress. You may think it is impossible to laugh or find anything worth laughing about when you’re stressed out, but the less you laugh, the more stressed out you’re going to be. It’s no joke! (pun intended). Laughter is an effective stress-relief agent and has been proven to decrease the hormones responsible for stress while reducing artery inflammation. In other words, when you start laughing, you start feeling better. And we’re not talking about faking a burst of laughter to see if that helps, but rather a genuine and positive response to something funny.
Unfortunately (or fortunately), what is funny is subjective, as everybody has different senses of humor. So, take the time to find out what tickles you and sends thrills of laughter vibrating through your body. It could be any comedy sketch, stand up comedy, or funny videos on the internet. It could also be that colleague at work who is a pleasure to have around; that person with all the jokes. Whatever your source of laughter is, the most important thing is that you keep it around you all the time. Except, it will be a bit creepy to be following that funny colleague around.
Sometimes, all you need to do is to spoil yourself a little bit. We’re not talking about getting yourself a new car, as that’ll be unsustainable ( imagine a new car for each time you feel stressed!) Just get out of your house and treat yourself to something that makes you feel good, no matter how small it is. It could be that ice cream or cake you’ve been eyeing every single day on your way home from work.
You could also visit the salon and treat your body to some pro-level pampering. Massage reduces stress by relaxing the soft tissues and muscles in the body while increasing blood circulation. The increase in blood circulation means that more blood reaches your muscles, removing waste products and relieving tension. You can also try an acupuncture treatment if your shoulders feel achy and tired.
And if your wallet says yes to pro-level pampering, create your own indulgence at home. Fill your bathtub with warm water and drop a bath bomb into it or opt for some Epsom salt instead. Pour yourself a glass of wine, or better still, carry the whole bottle with you and immerse yourself into your tub. Soak your body in the water, enjoy your drink, and listen to some music or read a book if you so desire. Oh! And, be sure to put up a “don’t disturb” notice if you don’t live alone.
Try a mini massage in your office
Does your working day get very stressful? Try taking the sting out of it with a quick mini massage in your office. You don’t need to wait until you’re on a break, and you don’t need to have a professional do it for you – that’s one great thing about a mini massage. Another great thing about it is that it comes with several benefits beyond helping you feel better.
So, how do you give yourself a quick massage? First, place your elbows on your desk and make sure they’re relaxed. Next, position your thumb right under your eyebrows, with each thumb resting on either side of the bridge of your nose. Now, allow your head to rest on your thumbs for a few seconds. Next, pinch and hold your eyebrows with your index fingers and thumbs for a couple of seconds, then move your fingers about half an inch outward. Now, repeat this technique until you cover the whole brow.
Be an early bird
This tip may not be for everyone, but if you can, try waking up a couple of minutes (or even hours) earlier than you usually do. Giving yourself an early start to the day gives you the chance to accomplish many things before everyone else wakes up. That means you’ll have less work burden on your shoulders and more time to relax during the day.
Getting up earlier than usual also gives you the chance to indulge in the things you love before the busy day starts. That is especially important if you don’t have enough time during the day. For example, if you enjoy reading, catching up with updates on social media, going for a workout, or even getting right to work, you’ll have enough time to do those activities without worrying about running out of time.
How early you should wake up depends on how many things you want to do. However, it is essential to remember that you shouldn’t deprive yourself of enough sleep. Experts say at least eight hours of uninterrupted sleep is essential for every adult.
Take your time to breathe more mindfully; inhale full breaths into your belly, hold a second, and release slowly. This action may sound simple, but it is very useful, as it blocks the body’s natural response to stress and prompts you to relax. Deep breaths increase the oxygen flow throughout your body and calm you down. That makes you less likely to get riled up during your day and makes it possible to think clearly and control your emotions. So, anytime you are faced with a potentially stressful situation, take a few seconds to breathe in deeply before you react. You’ll be surprised how this simple technique will improve your reaction to things around you.